Mahimahi, onaga, ulua and a striped marlin with a tale

Leighton Kelekoma, 12, caught a 38-pound mahimahi to take over the Big-Fish List mahimahi lead. His light fishing tackle was as much a surprise as his young age.  The youngster’s Penn spinning rod and reel is a sturdy outfit for “whipping” along the shoreline to catch pan-sized reef fish.  But you have to be pretty brave if you are using it to challenge an offshore fish known for its strength, agility and persistence.  Leighton proved to be just as persistent throughout an unrelenting, one-hour battle.

Leighton had gone fishing with his dad, Marcus, and family friend Craig Ashihara on Craig’s 19.5-foot outboard skiff.  Leighton had brought along his spinning outfit, a recent Christmas present, to cast for small fish on the surface as his partners sent baits down on a maki doggu line to catch shibi around UU-Buoy.  For the rest of the story



At 12, Leighton Kelekoma is the youngest fisherman on our Big-Fish List.  At 81, Sueto Matsumura is the oldest.  Over the Onaga14years, the veteran bottom fisherman has shown up on our list with beautiful and delicious snappers pulled up from the great depths, and this time is no exception.  Sueto fills the onaga slot this week with a 14.5-pound longtailed red snapper caught at about 150 fathoms.  For the rest of the story



Along the Kona coast, trollers rarely catch ulua on surface lures.  That’s largely because “giant trevally” want to feed in the bottom half of the water column where their prey are easier to ambush.  Whatever the reason, it was not suprising to hear ulua:deneenCapt. Deneen Wargo say she had just caught her first ulua on Friday despite being a full-time charter captain for a few years.

What’s more, it’s not surprising that she made the catch under unusual circumstances.

On Deneen’s afternoon half-day charter, her guests were a Chinese family with dolphin watching as their top priority.  Through their interpretor,  they told Deneen that fishing was second to their dolphin quest.   For the rest of the story



A week or so ago, an angler on the charterboat Blue Hawaii battled a 75-pound striped marlin to the boat. The plan was to tag and release it, but the angler wanted to get a photo with the fish before release.  That can be a bit risky to all involved, including the fish, but it is done occasionally at the charter’s request.  After tagging it, they pulled the fish out of the water, angler and crew held it for a moment, skipper James Dean snapped a photo and they tossed it back in the water no worse for the experience. For the rest of the story


Big-Fish List for 2016. The list recognizes the biggest fish caught on rod and reel (except opakapaka and onaga, for which we’ll accept hand line catches) in West Hawaii waters for 2016 in each of 22 categories. They are listed by species, weight, angler, skipper, boat, and date. The list is updated every Sunday throughout the year (copyright 2016 by Jim Rizzuto). If we have overlooked you, give us a call (885-4208) or send an e-mail ([email protected]).

  • Blue marlin, 625, Sunny Water & Marc Hembrough, Capt. Kenny Fogarty, Hula Girl. Jan 3.
  • Black marlin, (vacant)
  • Ahi, 227, Capt. Russ Nitta, Lepika. Jan 6.
  • Bigeye tuna, 173, Dave Remillard, Miles Nakahara, Puamana II. Jan. 11.
  • Striped marlin, 136.5, Mitchell Romero, Capt. Guy Terwilliger, High Flier. Jan 22.
  • Spearfish, 50, Ret Topping, Capt. John Bagwell, Silky, Jan 14
  • Sailfish, (vacant)
  • Mahimahi, 38, Leighton Kelekoma, Craig Ashihara, No Name (Caught on 12-pound-test) Jan. 31
  • Ono, 57, Monty Brown, Capt. Robbie Brown, El JoBean.  Jan 23.
  • Kaku, (barracuda), (vacant)
  • Kahala, 70, Jessica Yell, Capt. Shawn Rotella, Night Runner. Jan 22.
  • Ulua (giant trevally), 32, Capt. Deneen Wargo, Bite Me 6.  Feb 5.
  • Omilu (bluefin trevally), (vacant)
  • Otaru (skipjack tuna), tie at 14 pounds: Karey George, Capt. Kent Mongreig, Sea Wife II, Jan 21, and Jake Icenhower, Tyson Fukuyama, Miki, Jan. 28
  • Broadbill swordfish, (vacant)
  • Ahipalaha (albacore), (vacant)
  • Kawakawa, (vacant)
  • Kamanu (rainbow runner), (vacant)
  • Opakapaka (pink snapper), (vacant)
  • Onaga (ulaula ko`aie), 14.5, Sueto Matsumura, Sandee. Feb 2.
  • Uku (gray snapper), (vacant)
  • O`io (bonefish), (vacant)

Beasts of the week (marlin weighing 500 pounds or more).

None weighed.

Billfish releases

January 31: Striped marlin (120) Bill Busch, (90) Torrey Glass, Capt. David Crawford, Kona Blue

January 31: Spearfish (35) Unknown, Capt. Steve Fassbender, Teresa

February 1:Striped marlin (90) Ron Jessee, Capt. Jeff Heintz, Linda Sue IV

February 1: Striped marlin (70) Tom Manthey, Capt. Neal Isaacs, Anxious

February 3: Spearfish (35) Unkown, Capt. Neal Isaacs, Anxious

February 3: Striped marlin (50), Unknown, Capt. Neal Isaacs, Anxious

February 4: Blue marlin (175) David Burtner, Capt. Don, Kona Spirit

February 6: Striped marlin (40) Daniel Lebert, Capt. Kenny Fogarty, Makana Lani


January 31: Mahimahi (38) Leighton Kelekoma, Craig Ashihara, No Name (Caught on 12lb test)

February 2: Blue marlin (273) Lisa Schott, Capt. Jeff Heintz, Linda Sue IV

February 2: Onaga (14.5 and 13.5) Sueto Matsumura, Sandee

February 3: Ahi (201) Adam Caswell, Capt. Bobby Cherry, Cherry Pit II

February 4: Sailfish (76) Garrett Nishihara, Speared

For the rest of the story

2 Responses

  1. Tim Thomasson

    Love your reports and I’ve got a slew of your books.

    I’m just curious, is there just very little effort (boat days) being expended or is the fishing (catching) just really tough right now. I want to come over and catch a Spearfish but the way things have been going…don’t want to make the long trip from Florida just to look at the beautiful waters and land.

    • Jim Rizzuto

      I’m glad you like the books and reports. We are not able to include every catch and every tag and release in our weekly report but we do get as many as possible that are reported to the Charter Desk. Many more go unreported. Kona can be hot or not, depending on currents and masses of migratory fish as they visit the islands and leave. The only guarantee is that if you don’t go, you won’t catch. Jim